Malabar Ocean Pool to Get Increased Maintenance This Year

Maintenance and repairs at Malabar Ocean Pool, one of Sydney’s most popular ocean pools, will ramp up this year.


Read: The Rockpool Ramble: Exploring the Coastal Riches of South Maroubra


The pool’s pump, which circulates ocean water in and out to keep the pool fresh, was damaged on January 9 resulting in the pool being closed for the weekend. Randwick City Council’s staff were able to repair the pump on January 10 and restore operation.

In response, Council will now inspect the pool twice weekly over the summer season, up from weekly inspections previously. The pool is also completely cleaned every two weeks by emptying, pressure washing, and refilling. 

Photo credit: Hong Wang Tan/Google Maps

“The Malabar Ocean Pool is a popular and much-loved place for residents and visitors,” Randwick Mayor Philipa Veitch said. “The maintenance services and additional inspections over summer will help reduce outages in the future.

Photo credit: Sam Li/Google Maps 

The mayor cited challenges with the current underwater pump including the harsh marine environment and tidal issues for access. 

“Council staff are currently finalising plans for a new pump system to be located above ground and away from the pool. The design will provide for increased reliability and easier maintenance and is scheduled for completion in winter,” Mayor Veitch said.

Later this year, Council will also conduct a major clean-out of built-up sediment on the pool floor for the first time in years. New signage about cleaning schedules will additionally be installed.

Malabar Ocean Pool Cleaning 

Photo credit: Haison Nguyen/Google Maps 

Nestled along the coast below Randwick Golf Club, Malabar Ocean Pool offers spectacular views over Long Bay and the nearby rifle range. The iconic pool sits adjacent to Malabar Beach in Long Bay, providing easy access to the water. A ramp leads down to the pool deck for visitors.

Keeping with environmentally-friendly practices, Council maintains the ocean pools without using any chemicals. Instead, council staff regularly inspect the pools and utilise steam cleaning when needed. 

The cleanliness of Malabar Ocean Pool can fluctuate with changing weather and tidal conditions. Algae build up on the steps, walls, and floor, as well as seaweed and other debris washed in from high tides, is common. The pool’s water inlets rely on the tides, with pumps programmed to circulate fresh ocean water at high tide when conditions permit.


Read: Little Bay and Malabar Beaches Set for Enhanced Safety Measures


Council staff regularly remove weed from the pool when possible, but are unable to remove seagrass which is protected under NSW Department of Primary Industries legislation safeguarding mangroves, seagrasses, and seaweeds on public waterways and foreshores.

Published 19-January-2024 

Turning Waste into Energy: Malabar Biomethane Project Injects Sewage Gas into NSW Network

Gas produced from sewage is now being injected into the New South Wales gas network for the first time in Australia, thanks to the Malabar Biomethane Demonstration Project.


Read: Maroubra’s Newly-Opened Heffron Centre Now Offering Various All-Abilities Programs


Located at the Malabar Wastewater Resource Recovery Plant in Sydney, this project is upgrading biogas from organic waste into renewable biomethane gas.

The project is a partnership between major energy company Jemena, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and Sydney Water. By late June 2023, the facility is expected to ramp up production of biomethane to an initial capacity of 95 terajoules per year.

Photo credit: jemena.com.au

“We know when you use biomethane for cooking and heating it is helping to lower Australia’s overall carbon emissions,” said Jemena’s Managing Director Frank Tudor. He added that biomethane is compatible with existing gas appliances and can be used by manufacturers who rely on gas for heat.

Malabar Biomethane
Photo credit: jemena.com.au

The biomethane is produced in two stages, according to Mr Tudor. First, biogas is generated through anaerobic digestion, where bacteria breaks down organic waste in wastewater. Then contaminants are removed to produce pure biomethane.

Sydney Water’s Managing Director Roch Cheroux said the pilot shows how Sydney Water is adapting to meet changing community needs now and in the future.

“Sydney Water identified an opportunity to maximise the value of waste we produce, and by partnering with Jemena, we are now able to play a significant role in helping thousands of Sydney homes and businesses increase their efficiency and sustainability. For the first time, it will be possible to use a mix of biomethane and natural gas for cooking, heating, and hot water,” Mr Cheroux said.

“This Australian first trial is expected to produce the same amount of gas used by approximately 6,300 homes each year, and this is just the start. If we work together across industries, we can ultimately create a better life for all our customers by delivering reliable and renewable gas and helping reduce households’ carbon footprint,” he added.


Read: New Splash Park Coming to Des Renford Leisure Centre


Origin Energy and Jemena have signed an agreement for the biomethane produced at Malabar. Origin will offer business customers the chance to use the renewable gas, making it the first biomethane assessed through Greenpower’s renewable gas pilot accreditation program.

Published 13-July-2023

Seal Population Recovering From Near Extinction

In 2015, one lucky baby seal that was badly injured after a shark attack and found in a rock pool at Malabar made a full recovery after being treated at Taronga Wildlife Hospital. But did you know that from the early 1800s to the early 20th century, Australian fur seals and sea lions were almost hunted to extinction?



In the early 1800s, fur seals and sea lions were commercially hunted for their hides and were even culled because they were thought to be competing with local fishermen. Almost a million skins were known to have been traded from Australia and New Zealand during that time. And by the early 20th century, their population dwindled to just about 20,000.

Thanks to conservation efforts, their population somewhat recovered from near extinction. According to a study published in 2015 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the total population of long-nosed fur seals across Australia and New Zealand was estimated to be around 200,000.

The Australian sea lion population, however, is still far from making a full recovery; in fact, they are declining. Research published last year in Endangered Species Research estimated that based on data from 80 breeding sites, the Australian sea lion population has declined by 64 per cent over the last four decades.

In Sydney, there have been several pinniped sightings in the past years, including the one found at Malabar. But unlike the baby seal at Malabar, a seal spotted in 2018 was not as lucky. Nicknamed “Sealvester”, the animal died just a few weeks after the City of Sydney put up a fence below the stairway to prevent him from entering Rushcutters Bay Park. He had wounds on his eye and flippers and was found to be underweight.



But perhaps the most talked about sighting of them all was that of a long-nosed fur seal who found his way onto the Sydney Opera House in 2014. “Benny” has been a frequent visitor and has been delighting Sydneysiders since then.

Australian fur seals are mostly found throughout the islands of Bass Strait, and parts of Tasmania, South Australia, Southern Victoria and southern NSW. Whilst Australian sea lions have restricted distribution in South Australia and Western Australia.

Australian fur seals and sea lions are protected by law.

Residents Divided Over Toilet Block Plans for Malabar Rock Pool

Despite a public consultation two years ago, residents are still divided over the plans to construct a toilet block near Malabar Rock Pool. Some locals who oppose the construction have petitioned to drop the project. 



Elizabeth Lloyd, who started the petition, believes that there must be other priorities for improving the pool facilities, such as fixing the pool pump that repeatedly breaks down, than a toilet block. 

Ms Lloyd is a regular swimmer at the ocean pool for two decades. She said that if there is a toilet block closer to the pool then more people will be encouraged to stay longer.

The locals are concerned that this will create more pollution and garbage, affecting the fragile ecosystem around the pool area. There has been some precedent to this concern because they had to clean up after people who illegally camped out in the area overnight last summer. 

Photo Credit: Theresia H/Google Map

Regular pool users also do not want the new toilet block to “compromise the sparse parking space at the lower carpark.”

The nearest toilet facilities are either at Cromwell Park, some 700 metres away, or at the Randwick Golf Club.  Still, some residents said they need the toilet block near the Malabar Rock Pool.

“The pool is for all to use not just locals. The nearest public toilets are at least 300 metres away at the beach. Parents can’t walk children there and back in the summer heat,” one resident said.



Randwick City Council has allocated $360,000 to build the toilet block, which gained favor from over 70 per cent of the respondents during the public consultation in July 2020. Council is currently undertaking the design work to develop a concept plan for such amenities. A public exhibition of the toilet block’s design is expected to be released in late 2022. 

A spokesperson from the Council also said that other issues requiring remediation and repair work are actively in place. There are no requirements to prioritise one project over the other. 

Work on $16-Million Upgrader Package for Malabar Biomethane Project Begins

Work has started for the $16-million Malabar Biomethane project that will deliver Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas network.



Jemena signed a partnership with Sydney Water to construct the Malabar Biomethane project upgrader that will then be exported into Jemena’s NSW gas distribution network. The upgraders work to remove the water, carbon dioxide, and other gas contaminants from the wastewater so that renewable biomethane. 

The initiative is expected to reduce 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, which may be comparable to taking 4,500 cars off the road. The biomethane project has the potential for increased 11,0000 tonnes of carbon emissions thus becoming a significant contributor to the NSW Government’s Net Zero Plan, which aims to cut emissions by 35 per cent by 2030. 

“Fabricating the upgrader package in Australia is a great step towards helping to build a new design and manufacturing industry which will support our renewable energy transition,” Gabrielle Sycamore, Jemena’s General Manager of Renewable Gas, said.

“We’re excited about the potential for bioenergy and biofuels to help decarbonise sectors of our economy, like manufacturing, which rely on gas as a feedstock, as well as provide renewable gas for customers to use at home.

“Biomethane production is a great example of creating a circular economy – it keeps products and materials in use, reducing the production of new waste and pollution, and regenerating natural systems.

“Projections indicate that by the start of the next decade, with the right policy support, the bioenergy sector could create about 26,200 jobs.”

Per Sydney Water, “The Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), located near the Malabar Headland National Park, is one of Sydney Water’s multiple Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants. The bulk of the current AD Biogas output is used for electrical power generation and water heating. The balance of biogas that cannot be used via site processes is combusted through waste gas burners.”



The Malabar Biomethane project is expected to finish by the end of the year. For more information, refer to Jemena’s official site. 

Rate Increase to Impact Residents of Maroubra, Malabar, and Matraville

A rate increase has been proposed in the 2022-23 Operational Budget that will see the completion of facility upgrades across Maroubra, Malabar and Matraville.



Council announced that it’s pushing for a 2.5 per cent rate increase and a 2.5 per cent domestic waste charge for the incoming financial year, which should generate enough revenues to deliver the following projects: 

MAROUBRA

  • Finishing the Heffron Centre, the newest community sporting facility at Maroubra’s Heffron Park
  • Construction of new seating and shaded netball court area at Heffron Park Netball Centre
  • Stage one of Heffron Park Criterion Loop construction
  • Replacement of the Des Renford Leisure Centre indoor pool roof and upgrading the poor filtration system
  • Construction of a new amenities block at South Maroubra Beach
  • Upgrade to the Heffron Park irrigation and drainage systems
  • Upgrade to Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club
  • Local road upgrades – Burnie Kelly Dr, The Causeway, Gale Rd, Scott Lane, Portland Cres, Wride St, Maroubra Rd, Osprey Court, Hughes Ave, Beauchamp Rd
  • Local footpath works – Anzac Pde, Malabar Rd, Torrington Rd, Fitzgerald Ave
Photo Credit: RCC

MALABAR

  • Design work on Pioneers Park Club House refurbishment
  • Upgrade works to Malabar Memorial Hall and Malabar Community Library
  • Local road upgrade – Victoria Ln, Fishermans Rd
  • Local footpath works – Zions Ave, Howe St.

MATRAVILLE

  • Upgrade works to Malabar Memorial Hall and Malabar Community Library
  • Local road upgrade – Shirley Cres, Daunt Ave.
  • Local footpath works – Eastern Rd, Windsor St.


Thus, residents are encouraged to fill out their inputs on the 2022-23 Operational Plan and Budget online

The consultation period for the rate increase will run until Friday, 27 May 2022. Council said that all submissions will be considered before finalising the plans. 

Residents may also send their inputs through email – council@randwick.nsw.gov.au or snail mail – 30 Frances Street, Randwick NSW 2031.

Malabar Library and Community Hall Due for Upgrades

Plans are underway to redevelop the Malabar Library and Community Hall on Anzac Parade with a design that will reveal its original 1950s brickwork.



The Council announced that the revitalised facility will also include new features like a lift for accessibility, kitchen facilities for community use, improved and accessible toilets, as well as a new entry foyer. 

The redevelopment will cost $1.4 million but Council has yet to unveil the full plans for public consultations. When the plans reach the community consultation stage, please give your feedback through the official site. 

Nonetheless, locals may also send an email to Council@randwick.nsw.gov.au for their input whilst the consultations are still being scheduled.  

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Whilst the Malabar Library and Community Hall is a small space, it boasts of a collection of 12,000 items, free Wi-Fi, four computers and photocopying, scanning and printing facilities. The venue has an outdoor seating area with shade as well.

Beside the library, locals use the Malabar Memorial Hall for various purposes, including fitness classes, birthday parties, and club meetings.

Photo Credit: Randwick Library Services

The Malabar Library and Community Hall operate under the Randwick Library Service which receives strong support from the local community. In the 1990s, when the Malabar Library was proposed for closure, the community took action to save the venue.

Photo Credit: Randwick Library Services

Today, the library is thriving and still providing its valuable service. The internal spaces were last enhanced and renovated in 2011. 



New Malabar Coastal Walk Linked to Maroubra Beach Now Completed

Whale watching, walking, and enjoying the scenic views just got a whole lot better following the completion of the new Malabar coastal walk that links to Maroubra beach.



The Boora Point Walking Track, along the coastline of the Malabar Headland National Park, has been upgraded with a wheelchair-accessible trail and a 510-metre extension to reach Magic Point, which wraps to the south side of the park along the trail leading to Maroubra Beach. 

About 100 metres of this walking track is filled with crushed sandstone that requires extra accessibility assistance. Thus, the NSW Government invested $3.5 million for this project for the benefit and enjoyment of Sydney residents. 

The new Malabar coastal walk linking to Maroubra will also protect the native vegetation by preventing ongoing erosion from informal tracks.

Malabar coastal walk
Photo Credit: Paul Halasz/Google Maps

“These tracks are part of the NSW Government’s biggest infrastructure investment in national parks’ history, delivering $450 million of priority works to benefit the community and boost nature-based tourism across the State,” Environment Minister James Griffin said.  

“Parks along our coastline are great places to get out and enjoy our unique environment while also offering great opportunities for whale watching.

“This investment will support jobs by creating better facilities, such as walking trails and family-friendly amenities, to meet increased demand for our national parks which are a key driver of the visitor economy, generating $18 billion in economic activity each year and supporting over 74,000 jobs.”



Malabar Headland National Park is one of Greater Sydney’s valuable natural and cultural features, reflecting the rich Aboriginal cultural heritage and important World War II heritage items. 

It was designated as a heritage park in 2005 and was transferred under the management of the Commonwealth to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2016.

Cotton Buds Ban Pushed to Safeguard Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant

Did you know that plastic cotton buds are a major cause of damage and deterioration of the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant? Unfortunately, many Sydney locals don’t dispose of this basic cosmetic item properly, resulting in a serious problem at the wastewater facility.



According to Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant general manager, Maryanne Graham, used plastic cotton buds or Q-tips and tiny wet wipes flushed down the toilet end up in Sydney Water’s pipes and screening equipment, leading to clogs, damage and backflows. 

These items are non-biodegradable and will remain solid for a number of years, which means that they can easily combine with other debris, such as oils and fats, flowing and filling up the pipelines.

Photo Credit: Sydney Water

Thus, New South Wales Environment Minister Matt Kean is advocating to ban plastic cotton buds permanently, alongside single-use lightweight bags, straws and stirrers. 

“The single-use items we are phasing-out will stop an estimated 2.7 billion items of plastic litter  from ending up in our environment and waterways over the next 20 years,” the minister said.

“We can’t keep sending our scraps to languish in landfill when there are huge opportunities to turn our trash into treasure.

“Under our plans, every household will have access to a separate bin for their food and organic waste for the first time in NSW. This will not only deliver on our commitment to achieve zero emissions from organics in landfill by 2030, but will also grow our economy by extracting more resources like biogas from our waste.” 



A transition phase introducing new products as well as an education drive will be underway before the phase-outs are in effect. The State Government will invest $356 million in this campaign for the next five years, which will be divided across local councils.

“We want NSW to be a leader when it comes to reducing waste, maximising recycling and protecting our environment, but we want to do it in a way that drives job creation and innovation,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. 

Pioneers Park Sportsfield Upgrade Starts, Completion Target in May

The upgrade on the lower sports field at Pioneers Park in Malabar has begun and the site will temporarily be unavailable for community use until its target completion in May 2021. 

Randwick City Council confirmed that the first steps of preparing the field for civic works started in December last year. 



The tricky process has been monitored by Hygienist and Environmental Engineer (JBSG) as the site was once a landfill containing materials with asbestos. The experts have been regularly conducting tests to ascertain that conditions around the park remain healthy and ideal whilst work has been underway.

Pioneers Park’s redevelopment was approved following the necessary maintenance of the stormwater harvesting system on site. 

As part of its upgrade, Council will install a new all-weather synthetic playing field and new natural grass surface field, allowing young boys and girls from different local leagues to take advantage of the facilities regardless of the season.

Photo Credit: Randwick City Council 

Apart from the installation of the new fields, the scope of work on the park will include excavation, drainage works, footpath works, laying turf and miscellaneous civil works.

With the upgraded site, Council expects a reduction in maintenance costs and an expansion in the participation of students in sports activities.

Field 1 and Field 2 are currently fenced and closed for public use.

For concerns and updates on the progress of Pioneers Park, phone or email the project manager at 02 9093 6763 or zaman.shamsuz@randwick.nsw.gov.au.